This is beaded awl case that is made of rawhide and buckskin and done in a lazy stitch and wrapped around the awl case. The beadwork is done in dark blue and white. The pattern is banded. The lid is beaded with a the same beaded pattern. Some of the beading is missing. There is a thong at the top of the lid that was used to attach it. There are two beaded flaps that hang down at the bottom of the case. This awl case was possibly used for a hair parter.
Thomas McKee (1854-1930)
Thomas M. McKee was born in Kentucky, but grew up in Nashville, TN. He trained as a photographer, but also often worked as a railroad express messenger and had interests in paleontology. He found his way to Montrose, CO in 1890 to set up a photography studio. He is believed to be one of the first photographers to take X-ray pictures. He introduced western Colorado to moving pictures in 1895.
He photographed Mesa Verde and much of the local mining activity. In the early 1900s he turned his interests to documenting the daily lives of Ute people in photographs. He also began to collect Ute artifacts and amassed one of the largest Ute collections in the United States. He was close friends with Ouray and Chipeta. History Colorado bought his collection in 1948. It consists of 232 items. 150 are beaded Ute pieces. This is our largest Ute collection.